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22 May, 2024 01:47

Netanyahu claims more people starving to death in US than in Gaza

The ICC’s top prosecutor accused Israel of “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare”
Netanyahu claims more people starving to death in US than in Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has argued that there have only been a few dozen officially confirmed deaths from starvation among Palestinian civilians in Gaza over the course of the Israeli war with Hamas, dismissing the International Criminal Court's accusations as blatant lies.

The ICC’s top prosecutor, Karim Khan, requested warrants for both Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, claiming that there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the top officials, among other things, are guilty of “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime” and “extermination and/or murder… in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity.”

The prosecutor also accused Israel of “other attacks on civilians, including those queuing for food,” as well as “obstruction of aid delivery by humanitarian agencies” – a charge vehemently denied by Netanyahu in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday.

“Let’s take this charge of starvation: We’ve put in 500,000 tons of… food and medicine for this population. We’ve taken 20,000 trucks. We’ve paved roads to put those trucks in. We’ve opened border crossings that Hamas closed down. I’ve had airdrops, sea route supplies,” Netanyahu argued. “I mean, the whole thing is absurd. You should know this, I mean, the prices of food in Gaza have dropped by 80 percent. The markets don’t lie.”

There’s talk about 23, I think, or 30 cases of malnutrition in a population of 2 million... Okay, the United States in 2022 had 20,000 deaths of malnutrition. That’s three times more than in Gaza.

The Israeli prime minister went on to accuse the ICC of anti-Semitism, claiming that this kind of “slander has been leveled at the Jewish people for ages, and it’s renewed now against the Jewish state.”

International humanitarian organizations and UN officials have been sounding the alarm over aid-distribution issues, saying the supplies are inadequate to avoid mass hunger in Gaza.

It remains unclear how many people have died of starvation outside of the hospitals across Gaza, but according to the enclave’s health officials, at least 32 people, including 28 children, died of malnutrition and dehydration as of April 1. In March, a UN-backed report warned that more than 70% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million faces catastrophic hunger,” with two out of every 10,000 people expected to die daily from starvation, malnutrition, and disease if not helped immediately.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday that food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah is currently suspended due to a lack of supplies and due to insecurity amid Israel’s offensive. Deliveries of international aid have dropped off significantly since Israel stepped up military operations in and around Rafah earlier this month, closing the border crossing to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

In the US, the number of deaths attributed to malnutrition more than doubled since before the Covid-19 pandemic to over 20,500 in 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Malnutrition particularly affects elderly and low-income Americans, especially those with underlying health conditions or without reliable access to healthy food and medical services, with the majority of deaths occurring among those aged 85 and older.